Navigating PSAB: 6 quick steps to improve your knowledge


Posted by Tricia Fraser

Topic(s): PSAB

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When does the Public Sector Accounting Board ("PSAB") matter to you? It is a good question to ask ourselves. As professional accountants our plates are full. In fact, they are heaping with deadlines for operational and project work, never mind the stuff that gets thrown over the fence. Many of us only begin caring about a particular PSAB topic based on the Effective Date for Adoption. The equation becomes:

[Effective Date] - [# of staff hours to implement the change] = [Date I will start thinking about it]

The biggest problem with this approach (only being concerned with the Effective Dates) is that government finance departments are always rushing to respond to the latest crisis. You are missing the opportunity to have input into how the standards are modified or introduced for adoption. Considering the impact that our ever changing standards have on how we report out and operate our organization, you would think we would prioritize participation. For example, consider the potential impact of the changes that could come out of the proposed Financial Statement Presentation, Section PS 1202.

So why don't we give PSAB updates the proactive attention they deserve? Undoubtedly, the most significant factor is time. Finance professionals never have enough of it, and they often only hear about PSAB's Active Projects at a Conference or a blurb in a magazine. 

The fantastic thing about the public sector accounting community is that not only does PSAB ask for your feedback; but in our experience, they really consider your submissions. Take a look at the Feedback Statements that are published; it is evident that there is a real review and careful thought put into the comments gathered from the community. 

So even though we do not have a lot of spare time, prioritizing review and feedback of PSAB's current projects will prepare you for the coming implementation project and relax the tight deadline that might otherwise be in your future. Even better, you have an opportunity to help steer the ship and perhaps come up with a more efficient, effective, and reliable standard that will avoid worse implementation issues.

Here are six quick steps to get involved and stay in the loop: 

  1. Visit the site! The Public Sector Accounting Board has a great site summarizing all their Current, Completed, and Deferred Projects.
  2. Follow the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board on LinkedIn here.
  3. Get involved. Take a perusal through the Open for Comment documents and try your hand at filling one out and submitting it. Remember, you can spend as much or as little time as you desire on your responses depending on other time commitments.
  4. Attend the one-hour webinars offered and archived on the Financial Reporting & Assurance Standards website.
  5. Watch for Update Seminars and courses offered locally through CPA Canada or your provincial body, as well as taking advantage of PSAB seminars offered at any Conferences you may be attending.
  6. Sign up for our blog as we regularly report on PSAB topics.

For more on this topic(s), see: PSAB

Originally Posted on 18 April, 2016

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